Green Tea and Your Skin

I have heard of some pretty strange ideas for getting rid of acne in my time so you can imagine the skepticism I had when a friend began to tell me of the wonders of green tea.  I am not into chewing tree bark or boiling the roots of plants.

I like to keep it real, so to speak so what I perceive as “on the fringe” I keep at a safe distance.  But it seems as though the whole green tea thing isn’t as farfetched of an idea as I had previously thought.  There are indeed benefits to using this natural drink.

Anti-oxidants abound in green tea.  That’s good news!  These anti-oxidants are a more natural approach to keeping your skin clear.  Benefits of green tea include such things as clearer skin, a stopper for acne outbreaks and even as an age reversal agent for some (less wrinkles is always good).

Here are a few of the ways you use green tea to gain these benefits.

Drink the stuff – The most common way to gain the benefits of green tea is to simply boil it and enjoy it in a cup. Feel free to liven up the flavor with a touch of honey and lemon.

Apply topically – The idea of boiling the leaves and then wiping them all over my face seemed really, really odd to me at first.  I tried it and was amazed at how quickly I noticed smoother more vibrant skin.  I am not supposing this will have the same outcome for everyone.  It was quite a shocker though.

Green Tea Capsules – These small capsules filled with green tea are a great way to reap the benefits of green tea without downing cups of hot tea or smearing it all over your face. Just make sure you find capsules that are as pure as possible for maximum effect.


Tackling the T-Zone

Day after day the same pimples appear on your face in the same problem areas.  It’s almost like you have a scarlet letter on your face.  What’s more likely is that you are having troubles with your “T-Zone”.

What is a T-Zone? No, it’s not the latest tween angst boy band.

Your forehead, your nose and your chin are the most at risk areas of your face when it comes to acne outbreaks.  If you draw an imaginary line intersecting this area it would look like the letter “T”, and there you have it.

Managing Your T-Zone

Here are a few things to keep in mind that should make acne “in the zone” a little more manageable.

1.)     Beware of the Cleanser.  Since your skin needs special treatment here be careful of what you are using as a cleanser.  Be sure to use a cleaner that states it is for oily skin.  You may want take a look at gel based cleansers as well.

2.)    Wash your hands.  What do your hands have to do with acne breakouts on your face?  A lot, actually.  Throughout the day you are touching a lot of things and you are then touching your face transferring any bacteria and oils.  The more disciplined you are in keeping your hands clean in conjunction with a little less “hand to face” and you’ll begin to see improvement in your skins tone.

3.)    The two rules for life.  You may have heard this before but, just in case you haven’t apply this to your daily life and reduce your outbreaks. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and everything is small stuff. Stress affects your body in all sorts of negative ways, one of which is increasing the frequency and severity of acne breakouts.

Make a few of these little adjustments to your daily routine and you’ll soon see your acne problems begin to disappear.

The Thirsty Skin Issue

Tell me I’m not alone here.

Every time the seasons change, my skin goes through shock and I end up with a whacked out complexion. With fall (and colder weather) just around the corner, I know what’s coming. Dry air, central heating, and biting wind will all conspire against me so that by December, I will be stuck with skin as dry as the Sahara. Of course, acne doesn’t take a winter break, so it’s double whammy time—breakouts AND super dry skin.

But don’t despair, my friends. Over the years, I’ve managed to come up with a few skin tricks to help to help me embrace Winter Cheer—and keep my thirsty skin at bay.

The loss of natural moisture in your skin is what’s causing that dry skin in the first place. So, naturally, your first instinct is probably to slather on the moisturizer creams. But before you start applying that cream willy nilly, make sure you’re doing it at the right times. Apply moisturizer as soon as you step out of the bath or shower for maximum effectiveness—this is when your pores are open and most ready to soak up all that nourishment. Then reapply before bed and, if you like, when you first wake up.

Another suggestion is to drink more water.  It may sound pretty silly but most of us do not drink enough H20 daily. Since our bodies overwhelmingly comprised of good old aqua, it’s imperative to keep filled up. Milk isn’t the only thing that does a body good.

A lot of the acne medicines we use today are full of alcohol and all other sorts of chemicals. Make sure you’re using something specifically designed for dry or sensitive skin. And, if all else fails, it’s time to call the dermatologist…

RX for a Breakout

It’s been one of those weeks. Stressful, emotional… exhausting. Needless to say, it was all tough enough without having to deal with an acne outbreak that I can’t explain. Not that it’s ok when there’s a reason, but it’s even more frustrating than usual when a breakout seems to come out of the blue.

Was it something I did? Did I use too much makeup? The wrong brand for my skin type? Perhaps I wasn’t diligent enough in my daily cleansing routine.  Just as I was about to pull my hair out (and cause yet another cosmetic crisis) it hit me like an ice cold margarita at five on Friday: New medicine.

Medicines meant to treat or cure one thing can often list acne outbreaks as a potential side effect. (I know, like it didn’t suck enough to have to take meds every day, right?) While it is imperative that you follow your doctor’s orders, you may want to call a time out and discuss with your doctor what’s happening to your skin as a result.

There are two categories of medicine in particular that seem to be guilty of bringing on the breakouts:

Anticonvulsants – These are drugs taken for the treatment of epilepsy, seizures, bipolar and depression to name a few conditions. If you are taking medicine in this category take a look at the listed side effects for the drug.  Generally speaking anticonvulsants list acne as a potential side effect. Lucky me.

Oral Contraceptives – Many women will tell you that these actually help in keeping their acne in check.  There is, however, a group of women for whom these drugs actually worsen their acne.  Some of the drugs in this category that can cause problems for these women include: Loestrin 1.5/30, Loestrin 1/20 Fe, Estrostep Fe, Levlen, Alesse, Ovral, and Norlestrin 1/50.

When you are prescribed a new medicine take a good look at the information the pharmacist gives you along with your cool little bottle of pills.  You just might be able to avoid the “surprise acne” we all try and avoid.

The Big Debate: Does Diet Affect Acne?

I remember it as if it were yesterday… sitting at the kitchen table as a blossoming teenager, listening to Elaine Randolph, my mother’s then bff (at least, that’s what they would have called each other had the term existed at the time—mom always was tuned in to pop culture) talk about eating a mixture of green grapes and brown rice daily in order to keep her skin looking young.

Now my mother made all sorts of faces at the notion of that concoction sliding down her throat. But Mrs. Randolph swore by it, no matter how vile it sounded. The memory made me smile. And brought up an interesting point to ponder: do the foods we eat really have an effect on our battle with acne?

On both sides of the debate are doctors, academics and home remedy enthusiasts that have researched this question and published their findings in various studies.

The Yea’s

A 2007 study by Australia’s RMIT University and Royal Melbourne Hospital Department of Dermatology seems to indicate there is a link between high glucose and insulin foods and severe acne.  So if you are loading your lunch tray with white bread, potatoes and sugary drinks beware.  The 12 Mountain Dews you had today just might be one of the causes of your latest acne outbreak, according to this study that is. (Not to mention the fact that you are going to be up for at least three days straight) Other MD’s are currently investigating a possible link between milk products and wicked breakouts.

The Fun Haters

There are hundreds of so called “Acne Diets” on the market today and while some acne suffers may have found long sought relief via these diets there is no conclusive empirical evidence suggesting they are effective on a broad scale.

There are some common themes that run throughout both sides of the issue.  General agreement has yet to  be reached on the area of the glycemic index, diet,  and their impact (or lack thereof) on the severity of an individual’s acne.

No need to run out and by brown rice and grapes to smash together in a bowl.  They won’t cure acne anymore than chewing bubble gum while sucking on a lollipop will.  Best course of action?  Ask your doctor how various foods might be impacting your personal situation.

Does Foundation Cause Acne?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve wondered (on more than one occasion no doubt) whether wearing foundation can lead to breakouts. It seems logical, doesn’t it? After all, slapping something thick and heavy on your skin seems like just asking for trouble.

I know there are lots of people who say that wearing (or skipping) foundation has no bearing on the condition of your acne, but personally I noticed a definite correlation between switching from a heavy liquid foundation to a light powder mineral one and an improvement in the condition of my skin.

But since everyone’s skin is different, and your acne triggers could very well be different from my own, this is going to have to be a personal choice. However, there are some universal rules to follow if you want to keep your skin as clear as possible.

For starters, make sure that no matter what brand you prefer, the packaging says it’s non-comedogenic and oil free. That means that it won’t clog your pores, which is a big no-no in the clear complexion world. Also, you’ll want to apply the lightest layer possible to avoid jamming up those delicate follicles.

But perhaps most importantly of all, it’s essential that you wash all of that cosmetic goodness off carefully. Because sleeping in a face full of makeup is a sure way to earn yourself a one way ticket to zitsville.

Is Anyone Listening?

Ok, I’m sure I’m violating some unwritten female code by admitting this, but I’m not much of a chick flick fan. Nope, I’ll take a psychological thriller or goofy comedy over a tearjerker or sappy love story any day.

But last night, as I fought a particularly heinous round of insomnia, I was faced with a bit of a dilemma. I flipped through channel after channel, searching for something to watch, and came to a frightening discovery. Unless I was interested in buying a vacuum, fake diamond jewelry, or a counter top blender, I was going to have to settle on whatever movie was just starting on the premium channels.

This left me with two choices: Julie and Julie (a chick flick if there ever was one) and The Devil Wears Nada (a movie with chicks, but definitely NOT of the Meryl Streep variety). Seeing as though I couldn’t really bring myself to watch the cheesy soft core movie alone—yes, I admit that I tried to wake my boyfriend and get him to watch with me, to no avail—I bit the bullet and hit play on Julie and Julia.

I figured that it would be just the thing to bore myself to sleep. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really enjoyed it!

No, this does not mean that I have any intention of running out and renting Beaches or Terms of Endearment, but it turned out to be a very well written, funny, kinda touching story. But it did make me wonder about one thing: is anybody listening to me?

I started this blog with one intention: to share my skin story with other people dealing with adult acne and, in the process, maybe help some people who are struggling like I am. Who knows… maybe I could even get some tips and tricks from other acne sufferers.

So, I guess I’m just wondering… is anybody out there?